Pinterest’s Former COO File lawsuits Against Company For Gender Discrimination, Wrongful Termination, And Retaliation

Françoise Brougher, former chief operating officer of Pinterest, has filed a new lawsuit against the company accusing them of gender discrimination.

According to a filing in San Francisco Superior Court, on Tuesday, the former COO says that in April, she was abruptly fired from the company and sued to hold it accountable for discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), and the Labor Code.

In June this year, Pinterest said that it had monthly active users of 400 million of which most of the users are women. However, the company seats for top executives are all filled by men.

The lawsuit says “Ironically, even though Pinterest markets itself to women as a source of lifestyle inspiration, the company leadership team is male-dominated, and gender-biased attitudes are prevalent.

In the lawsuit, Brougher alleges when hires she was provided unfavorable equity compensation package than male peers. As she also points out that she was also justified out of key decision-making and was subjected to a hostile work environment. She was then ultimately fired by CEO Ben Silbermann when she took a stand.

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In March of 2018, before joining Pinterest, Brougher has held executive positions at Google, Square, and Charles Schwab. Today, in a post published in Medium, she wrote, “I have always been a private person, but I am opening up about my experience because if someone of my privilege and seniority is fired for speaking out about these issues, the situation is likely far worse for people earlier in their careers.”

The news lawsuit against Pinterest comes two months after its two Black former employees, Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, accused them of racial discrimination, unequal pay, and retaliation.

The lawsuit says, during the time Brougher was hired, she was told by the company’s board to receive backloaded equity grants. In the first year, her equity grant stipulated 10% of shares, followed by 20% the second year; 30% the third year; and 40% the fourth year.

However, last year, when the company filed to go public Brougher realized from its S-1 filing that equity grants for her male peers’ were not backloaded. After raising several concerns her compensation was adjusted with Silbermann, who then directed her to the human resources department.

She also says that during her time as the company’s COO she was not even invited on Pinterest’s IPO roadshow.

In April 2019, after Pinterest’s initial public offering, Brougher says that she was no longer invited to board meetings while many of her team members attended these meetings without her knowledge. The lawsuit says “As COO of Pinterest, Ms. Brougher no longer had a meaningful engagement with the company’s board.